Why I’m a Terrible Blogger (and You Should Be, Too)

I lead a team of writers for my day job. I also set social media strategy for InterVarsity. I have done a lot of freelance work for magazines, with my excellent wife, Chrissy. We even have a book that’s on Amazon, ready for pre-order. I’ve had this blog for two years.

But I’m a terrible blogger.

Because of my work helping lead communications for InterVarsity, I know how to be an awesome blogger. I should:

  • get up really early to write. (OK, I do that one sometimes.)
  • write catchy headlines. (OK, I hit this occasionally, too.)
  • zero in on a specific area, learning as I go and becoming the expert in that area. (And repost excellent content from others related to my area of focus.)
  • post daily (or at least a couple times each week).

Bloggers who blog about blogging for bloggers give all the recommendations above and thousands more. They say, “No excuse. You want to be a blogger, you have to blog.”

The last two are why I’m a terrible blogger. Today, I want to deal with the frequency of posting.

I’ve occasionally gotten into a rhythm where I’m posting regularly—putting up solid content as often as three times a week. I was on the blogging team for the Global Leadership Summit, with some writing that I’m proud of. That came on the heels of the World Assembly of the International Fellowship of International Students (the IFES), where I also produced some good stuff.

But lately, I’ve struggled to write for my blog. Even a post per month seems like a challenge.

I think I’ve put my finger on why I suck at this.

At some point, blogging impedes living:

My kids just turned 7 and 9. We value a balanced family life. The kids are not in tons of stuff, but I try to be around most mornings and most evenings for them. I don’t really care if I ever have a platform of 50,000 blog subscribers. I care very much if Phoebe and Zeke are nurtured well. I don’t want to sacrifice my children on the altar of WordPress.

I write elsewhere. I have articles going out in magazines. I oversee and occasionally write for the national InterVarsity blog. Our book is being released in a couple months. (and I value much of this other writing more than pushing out content here).  So it’s not like I’m not writing at all. But blogging doesn’t fit well.

I want to live Amazing Days. One of the premises of the new book grows from a commitment I made in high school to do something amazing every day. Chrissy already was doing the same when we met. Recent Amazing Days include weeding the garden with the kids after work with the kids, building a treehouse, meeting up with a friend I’d not seen in at least 12 years, learning to filet a fish, going in to work super early, doing yoga, and sitting and enjoying the sunrise with a cup of tea in our yard. Eating the woodchuck raw and sucking the marrow out of life take time and keep me from writing here. (If you’re lost at this point, go read some Thoreau.)

The good news, I s’pose, is that I’ve been squirreling away blog ideas for the last year, just not writing them. I think I’m about to let loose the floodgates.

What about you—why are you a terrible blogger?

  • http://noshortcutsphotography.blogspot.com Kyle Van Etten

    Haha I totally can relate to this, I have my own photography blog and I love to take pictures (its linked check it out), BUT, as much as I love photography it is not what God has for my life, there are just more important things to be done and sometimes I can’t afford the time or the money that going to take new pictures entails. There is an old FFH song called “Millionaire” and I love it because of its simplicity and the way it expresses this idea that there are alot of things I may never do, but I don’t care, I will be the light of the world!!!

    • acjeske

      Gotta have priorities, though I wonder what might come of your photography in the coming years, Kyle. Are you coming to ONS?

  • http://everydayawe.com Stephanie Spencer

    Great thoughts, Adam. I love this quote in particular “I don’t want to sacrifice my children on the altar of WordPress.”

    For me, the difficulty is all the social media stuff around blogging. I really like reading blogs. I’ve even come to enjoy Twitter, much more than I thought I would. But, all the reading & commenting & tweeting that is part of “building a platform” can be a time suck from other things that are more important.

    • acjeske

      Yeah, I’ve been thinking about blogging in this direction. The piece I have in mind is something like “Building a Platform for an Audience of One” (or “Audience of Significance”)…Platform can be just another empty pursuit, though I don’t discount the importance of one and try to build one. Like you, I want to build a good, smart, appropriate one, in the place and space it deserves, no more, no less.

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    • acjeske

      Thanks for thinking and writing back on this, Jeff. I think we’re pretty close on this issue, no?

  • http://www.lindseytalerico.com lindsey talerico-hedren

    What’s up with life getting in the way of (first) our dreams and aspirations… and now our blogging?

    I’m a terrible blogger because I’m less original than other bloggers — like the lazy graphic designer of blogging. I see (read) someone else’s material and it fuels my own. My ability to be originally creative is limited by time and demand for other “life” things.

    I do, however, have 128 blog drafts in my CMS. Second reason I’m a terrible blogger: following through with my ideas and posts. I hardly ever finish them. And I refuse to publish anything unfinished. So I publish less.

    Hope to redeem all of this one day with heaps of real good, original and daily content.

    And definitely… let those floodgates open.

    • acjeske

      Yes! Life gets in the way of…other life. Somehow the minutiae matters.

      We’re different on your other two points. I think I’m pretty original. It’s the making of time to execute those ideas (thus my blog title).

      And I have exactly one blog post draft in the works right now. Once I start on an idea, I pretty much crank it and post it. No muss, no fuss. I’m not a careful editor of my own work. Usually, the idea is the point for me, not the craft.

      So how about we provide a bit of accountability for each other? I’ve got a similar number of blog ideas in Evernote as you have as drafts in your CMS. Let’s watch out for each other.

  • http://blog.emergingscholars.org/ Thomas B. Grosh IV

    Following Christ in the daily grind is a gritty, costly investment. Realizing that “One More Day” is a gift of God not only to me with various health concerns and to one of my children with a number of developmental delays, but to all of God’s creatures reveals how each and every day (even every moment) is an amazing gift of God (Note: Some of the story posted at http://groshlink.net/gallery/1/Spiritual%20Autobiography2.pdf).

    Blog posts provide the opportunity to give testimony to God’s ever present, refining work. By earthly standards I may be a terrible blogger on a given day or over the course of a week, month, season, year, lifetime, but I have continually been impressed how God uses the scattered seed in amazing ways to His own ends. Sometimes he’s even inspired me to return to and revise a given post multiple times. This was not to reach perfection (which it will never reach), but to develop material further as a blessing to others.

    To God be the glory!

    • acjeske

      Thanks, Tom. Your long-ball view is a valuble one in the ephemeral blogosphere.

  • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

    jeez, Adam way to make me want to give up blogging all together! For real, this is inspiring! I know for sure that ALOT of times my time could be more productive cooking healthier meals, cleaning or just hanging out my hubs after the kids are in bed at night. Sometimes I’ve justified it to myself b/c I feel that I “need” to platform build in order to get my memoir published by a reputable publisher/agent…and other times I know I do it b/c it’s definitely more fun than engaging real life…it’s my escape activity even more than TV/movies, etc. Anyway, it’s really amazing how many times I’ve went back and forth about this, and for now have landed that it’s okay for me to blog, but I need to do it smarter (blog less often and create higher quality posts) + use it to practice writing by guest blogging more often (which is where I really tend to put my best blogging foot forward=). This is a really helpful reminder though… lot of good stuff to think through and a good challenge to consider today, especially as I am leaving staff and wondering how and what to do with my writing.

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  • http://www.andy-moore.co.uk Andy Moore

    Pretty much the same reasons.